(I returned from 8 days rafting the Grand Canyon to "inspiration" from a Bellevue Reporter "letter".)
The problem with transportation funding in our area is not that “it tilts too much to transit". The problem is it “tilts” (a better word would be “wastes”) too much towards extending light rail. Light rail in Seattle should be limited to a “trunk” line that extends from the University to SeaTac (see 4/26/13 post). The Central Link extensions to Federal Way and to Lynnwood will never attract sufficient riders to justify the costs for construction and the added equipment and operation associated with the longer routes.
North end commuters, who would be affected, could be better served by far cheaper and faster express bus service from P&R lots into Seattle. South end commuters might use direct bus routes into Seattle or to light rail connections at Tukwila. Service that could be expedited by restricting 2nd and 4th Avenues to bus-only use during commute hours.
The University Station should serve as an interface between light rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) across SR520 (4/15/13 post). Eastside residents could have express bus service from a P&R lot near where they live to UW or a fast, reliable light rail ride into downtown. Seattleites could use the return routes for direct connections to near where they work on the east side. A University T/C is the only way to attract the large numbers of riders needed to make light rail viable.
Sound Transit could and should have moved non-transit HOV traffic to 4th lanes on the I-90 Bridge outer roadways and initiated two-way BRT on the center roadway 15 years ago (8/08/12 post). In this case the buses would have provided express connections between east side P&R lots and dedicated drop-off and pick-up points along “bus-only” 4th and 2nd Avenues.
Truncating light rail in this manner would avoid the need to use $15 billion (2007 dollars) in constructing transportation projects that will only increase the subsidies needed to cover the higher operating costs. Eliminating East Link will not only eliminate the devastation along the route, it will also stop the idiocy of spending billions on a cross-lake transportation project that actually increases congestion.